Washington, July 7 : A researcher from the Royal Veterinary College in London, UK, has suggested that scientists should avoid imitating the actions of birds and bees in flying machines.
First attempts at human flight involved imitation of winged creatures, which unfailingly ended in disaster.
No workable flying machines have ever looked particularly similar to nature's fliers, and today there is little comparison between a top of the range military chopper and the humble bumblebee, despite similar flight patterns.
In an era in which engineers are increasingly exploiting designs from nature, understanding this paradox is becoming ever more important.
Now, Dr Jim Usherwood, from the Royal Veterinary College, has studied the reasons behind these differences in aerodynamics and concluded that scientists should, in this instance, be more hesitant before imitating nature.
Dr Usherwood believes that the reason that flying creatures don't look like man made machines is all to do with the need to flap.
"Animals' wings, unlike propellers, have to keep stopping and starting in order produce lift," he explained.
"The idea is that both wing shape and how wings are used can be understood better if the effort of flapping is remembered, which explains why vultures don't look like gliders, and most winged creatures, from insects to pigeons, fly so inefficiently," he added.
Usherwood's research has centered on creatures as diverse as dragonflies and quails.
Currently, he is investigating the compromise winged creatures face between meeting aerodynamic requirements and overcoming inertia in order to generate lift, by loading wings of racing pigeons with lead fishing weights.
He believes that lessons from all of these studies lead to the same conclusion.
"My work should act as a reminder to be cautious in copying nature," said Usherwood.